New Study Looks at How Viewing Nature Can Reduce Cravings

A recent study from the University of Plymouth indicates that being able to view greenery and nature from your workplace or home can lead to less frequent or intense harmful cravings—like cravings for junk food, alcohol, and cigarettes.

This new research builds off of previous research that looked at a link between reduced cravings and exercising outdoors. And while it’s well known that spending time outdoors has been linked to a more positive mindset, this new study suggests that exercise may not be necessary to experience some of the benefits of the outdoors. It’s the first study to explore the idea of how seeing green spaces and wellbeing are linked, and it can potentially lead to a focus on more environmental protection and programs.

For the study, participants filled out an online survey that had questions about usual cravings, frequency of negative emotions, and daily exposure to nature (exposure to greenery in neighborhoods, amount of foliage visible from the home, garden access, and frequency of visiting public parks).

The participants with daily access to gardens or other green spaces had a lower frequency of harmful cravings. Being able to view nature from the participant’s home had similar results. While the researchers took exercise into account, participants appeared to report less cravings after viewing nature regardless of exercise.

The study, published in the journal Health & Place, can help to provide insight into how to help those struggling with addictions, and also stresses the importance of investing in and protecting green spaces in communities.

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